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South Carolina’s First Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment in Two Decades

South Carolina’s First Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment in Two Decades

Unaffordable housing in SC imposes a cost on the state of $8.4 billion–borne by public assistance, private charity, or personal deprivation

In 1971, then US Senator Fritz Hollings said, “Poverty is a wheel with several spokes. On this wheel you’ve got the spoke of health, the spoke of housing, job training, job opportunity and rehabilitation.”  At that time, hunger was seen as one of the state’s most pressing problems.  Today a different challenge dominates the state (and nation)—a growing, pressing need for available and affordable housing.  More and more households are forced to dedicate a larger percentage of their incomes to the cost of housing, often forgoing other essential needs—a condition known as “Shelter Poverty.”

SC Housing has now finalized the first comprehensive agency Housing Needs Assessment for the state of South Carolina in nearly 20 years and its findings are alarming.  This analysis is part of an overall effort by SC Housing to implement evidence-based policy and inform relevant stakeholders of the housing challenges facing the state.

Among the key findings are:

  • South Carolina has, by far, the highest eviction rate in the nation.
  • One in four renters experiences severe housing cost burden.
  • The average renter cannot afford a basic two-bedroom apartment in 41 of 46 counties statewide.
  • There are only enough subsidized rental units to serve one in five low-income renter households.
  • Thousands of people experience homelessness on a nightly basis.

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